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1995 Clinic Violence Survey Report

Table of Contents | Methodology | Key Findings | Violence Declines | Levels of Violence | Death Threats, Home Picketing, and Stalking | Decreases in Violence | One in Ten Clinics Lose Staff | One in Five Clinics Reported FACE Violations | Law Enforcement Response Improved | Levels of Violence Correlate with Law Enforcement Response | Legal Protections | Conclusions | Appendix A | Appendix B

Another indication of law enforcement response was the number of clinics that reported arrests and whether charges were filed in these cases. Only 13.8% (43) of clinics reported arrests as a result of violence at clinics. Of the clinics, 11.6% (36) reported misdemeanor arrests or arrests for violation of local ordinances; 1.6% (5) reported felony arrests; and .6% (2) reported both misdemeanor/felony.

Arrests were clearly related to the levels of violence experienced by clinics. Clinics that experienced higher levels of violence indicated more arrests regardless of whether the violent acts took place at or away from clinics. Over one third (36.3%) of the clinics that experienced a high level of violence reported arrests for felonies and misdemeanors committed at clinics. Only 14.7% of clinics affected by moderate levels of violence reported arrests for anti-abortion activities at the clinics. Of the clinics that reported high levels of violence, 11.4% noted either felony or misdemeanor arrests related to violence that took place away from clinics. Only 3.9% of clinics that reported moderate levels of violence also indicated arrests for conduct away from clinics.

Approximately one-third of clinics that reported misdemeanor and local ordinance arrests also indicated that charges were filed as a result of the arrests. Of the 36 clinics reporting misdemeanor/local ordinance arrests related to anti-abortion violence at clinics, 33.3% said charges were filed and another 5.6% said charges were filed in some cases, but not others. Of the 8 clinics that reported misdemeanor/local ordinance arrests related to anti-abortion violence targeted at physicians and staff away from clinics, 37.5% said charges were filed. All of the clinics that reported felony arrests said charges were filed. One of the two clinics that reported both felony and misdemeanor arrests related to violence at clinics said charges were filed.

Less Than Half of Clinics Won Legal Protections

Over one-third (35.5%) of clinics are currently protected under civil injunctions or buffer zones.

In 1995, 15.2% of clinics turned to the courts to seek relief from clinic violence. Of the clinics, 3.2% sought temporary injunctions, 5.8% permanent injunctions, and 4.2% restraining orders.

Only 46.8% of clinics who sought legal remedies actually obtained the desired protection. Clinics in 1995 were less successful than in 1994 in winning restraining orders and temporary injunctions to protect themselves from clinic violence. In 1995, 46.2% of the clinics requesting temporary restraining orders against anti-abortion extremists won restraining orders, compared with 68.8% in 1994. Fifty percent of clinics who sought temporary injunctions in 1995 won those injunctions, in comparison to 62.5% of clinics in 1994.

On the other hand, clinics in 1995 were extremely successful in obtaining permanent injunctions. All but 5 of the 18 clinics that sought permanent injunctions won those injunctions, for a total of 72.2%. In 1994, only 27.8% of clinics seeking permanent injunctions won that legal remedy.